In 1934, the Reececliff Family Diner opened as the Ducky-Mucky restaurant in Lakeland, Florida. Ed Attenburg sold his barbecue stand to Reece and Clifford Stidham a year later.
The Stidham’s niece Ruth Selman Murrell suggested the name change to Reececliff. Clifford was well-known as a road contractor in the area. Reece and Clifford’s restaurant life was brand new, but they made it a family affair.
During an interview with the Tampa Tribune in 1981, former World War II engineer Ken Beals recalled how the Reececliff was Lakeland’s only drive-in restaurant. He and the flyboys stationed at Drane Field nearby frequented the Reececliff to “drive in and park and have a Coke.“
In 1953, hiring teenager Jeanette Mobley would prove to be an essential move. Mobley, aka Miss Jeanette, would bake pies at Reececliff until her retirement in 2013.
Pies were already on the menu, but the scratch-made pies would become the thing of Lakeland legend during those critical years. The pies have been a Thanksgiving staple in households for years.
In 2002, James Bronkhorst purchased the restaurant from the Stidham family. Almost 20 years later, the Reececliff Cliff still serves good ol’ diner food with the kind of service you’ll only find in a sleepy town.
Historical Restaurant Pictures
Reececliff Menu Daily Specials
It was Monday when my wife Marcela and I had dinner at the Reececliff. She chose one of the Daily Specials, the spaghetti with meat sauce and garlic toast.
It was not only a thing of beauty, but it tasted great. If that meat sauce were bottled, I’d buy a couple of jars.
I skipped the lettuce and tomato on my Original Reececliff Burger with cheese. Instead, I went straight old school with onion, pickles, and mustard.
The crumbly meat that made up the 8oz burger patty was divine. I considered taking one back to the hotel and then looked at their pies.
We were directed to the Reececliff by the server at another burger restaurant in town. Marcela asked whether there were any pie and coffee spots worth visiting. She didn’t skip a beat and suggested the Reececliff.
It was a pleasant surprise to find out how great the food and vibe were, but they don’t hold a candle to the pies. The French Silk Pie needs to have its own wing in the Tasty Pie Hall of Fame.
Wow. Just wow.
So there you have it, a landmark restaurant in Lakeland, Florida, that you need to visit. And if you’re in town during the holidays, do as the locals do and pick up a whole pie!
Reececliff Family Diner
940 Florida Ave S
Website – http://reececliff.com
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/reececlifflakeland
Monday 7:30 am – 8 pm
Tuesday 7:30 am – 8 pm
Wednesday 7:30 am – 8 pm
Thursday 7:30 am – 8 pm
Friday 7:30 am – 8 pm
Saturday 7:30 am – 8 pm